Blackwater Aggregates Bradwell Quarry, Church Road, Bradwell, CM77 8EP
Telephone: 01376 562460
An ariel view of the Rivenhall airfield in 1944 from which Martin B-26Bs of the 397th Bomb Group flew along with P51B Mustangs of the 382nd Fighter Squadron and 363rd Fighter Group (also pictured above). The remains of a Marconi Radar testing mast and some of the airfield buildings remain today.
About Us

Blackwater Aggregates is an independent joint venture company which operates Bradwell Quarry, a large sand and gravel quarry located in Bradwell, near Braintree, Essex. The quarry incorporates parts of the old Second World War airfield at Rivenhall.

The site opened under the ownership of Blackwater Aggregates in 2001, following installation of a new processing plant and various other improvements, though a quarry has been operated on the site by others since the late 1940’s.

The plant is capable of producing up to one million tonnes per year of washed and graded sand and gravel, making it one of the largest sand and gravel quarries in the country.

The site also incorporates the Blackwater Aggregates run bagging plant, which produces plastic and bulk bags of various materials, plus a ready-mixed concrete plant and dry silo mortar plant (DSM) which are both operated by CEMEX UK.

Loose and bagged aggregates are available for sale to both members of the public and trade customers direct from Blackwater Aggregates, as is ready-mixed concrete from CEMEX, though the mortar from the dry silo mortar plant is only suitable for use on larger building projects.

Geology of Bradwell Quarry

The deposit of sand and gravel being excavated at Bradwell was laid down during the Pleistocene period between 117,000 and 781,000 years ago and is a glacial deposit.

The deposit is now known as the Colchester Formation, though it was formally known as the Kesgrave Sand and Gravel Formation. The formation encompasses fluvial, lacustrine and organic deposits of the pre-diversionary River Thames and are characterised by quartz and quartzite from the Triassic, Carboniferous and Devonian rocks of the West Midlands, Welsh borderland and possibly the south western Pennines and felsic volcanic rocks from northern Wales.

History of Rivenhall Airfield

The quarry includes parts of the former Rivenhall Airfield, also known as Royal Air Force Station Rivenhall or USAAF Station AAF-168.

Construction of the airfield was undertaken by Bovis Limited and commenced in 1943, with the airfield becoming operational in January 1944.

It was in use as a military airfield from 1944 to 1946, after which it was used to house Polish servicemen who did not wish to return to their homeland.

From 1956 large parts of the airfield were leased by Marconi Radar for the installation and testing of radar equipment, with their use ceasing as Blackwater Aggregates gained permission to commence excavations on part of the site.

History of Bradwell Quarry

Bradwell Quarry was originally opened by the Hunnable family in circa 1950, though it is believed that deposits on or adjacent to the site were excavated in 1943 for use in the construction of the Second World War airfield base.

When the Hunnable family sold the site it became part of the ARC quarrying company, which itself was later absorbed by Hanson who operated the site until it passed to Blackwater Aggregates in 2000.

Company Registration Number: 8016374   VAT Registration Number: 135945983
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